Last call: Latvian (and Bontok) extlang subtags
doug at ewellic.org
Sun Feb 7 23:26:20 CET 2010
Michael Everson <everson at evertype dot com> wrote:
>> (2) Whether three new extended language subtags shall be created for
>> Northern Bontok ("bnc-rbk"), Central Bontok ("bnc-lbk"), and
>> Southwestern Bontok ("bnc-vbk"), which are new ISO 639-3 code
>> elements encompassed by Bontok ('bnc'), recently reclassified as a
>> macrolanguage and renamed from "Central Bontoc."
> Logically I must also approve this.
As Kent (my opponent in the Latvian argument) points out, the creation
of macrolanguages and encompassed languages by ISO 639-3 does require us
to create new primary language subtags, but it does NOT require us to
create new extended language subtags. That is a function of whether you
(we) believe that the new macro/extended relationship is like the
relationship between the Chinese and Arabic languages, such that
(quoting RFC 5646):
(1) the members of the language family "have a specific dominant variety
that is generally synonymous with the macrolanguage," or
(2) the members of the language family "have traditionally used their
primary language subtag, possibly coupled with various region subtags or
as part of a registered grandfathered tag, to indicate the language."
This is true, for example, for Chinese: people have used "zh" in
language-tagging applications to mean Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu, and
others. On the other hand, it does not appear that there has been
widespread use of "cr" in language-tagging applications to mean Plains
Cree, Moose Cree, Swampy Cree, and others. That is why, while the
members of both of these language families (intended not to be an ISO
639-3 term) have primary language subtags, only the Chinese languages
have extlangs as well.
I agree with Kent that nobody seems to have argued in favor of adding
extlangs for the three Bontok languages, since there is apparently no
evidence of widespread use of "bnc" for all of these. (Anyone with
evidence to the contrary should obviously speak up!) At the same time,
we must add primary language subtags for them, since they have been
added to 639-3 and there is no conflict with anything in the Registry.
Kent is also correct that there is no "absolute need" to register
extlangs for Standard Latvian and Latgalian. Where we differ on this
point is that I believe it would be advantageous to do so, because the
Latvian situation is more analogous to Chinese than to Bontok, whereas
Kent believes the set of extlangs is, or should be, closed a priori.
This is why I have asked you to use your linguistic judgment (and
interpretation of RFC 5646) to decide whether these extlangs should be
created. Please note, again, that there is no question of whether to
add the corresponding primary language subtags; those must be added.
Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | http://www.ewellic.org
RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ http://is.gd/2kf0s
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